Most of the comic films boast of number of characters in the narrative. There is an exception like BHEJA FRY that worked in spite of just 3-4 main protagonists but majority of films have always borrowed from Priyadarshan school of cinema. Have 3-4 main leads in place, add on a dozen more supporting characters, each of whom are then graced with equal screen presence, have jokes and gags thrown in abundance and make sure that the screenplay remains tight. If all of this works in good measure then voila, you have a masala-mix-bhel-puri ready!
It has worked with Priyadarshan too often; it doesn't quite follow the same path for debutant director Raj Pendurkar.
He tries to follow the same approach [nothing wrong with that, after all he was just playing safe for his first venture] but alas, the results aren't as rib tickling and memorable as one would have expected. Not that one was expecting a classic from BOMBAY TO GOA, one shouldn't be in fact, but then what one misses is the kind of punch that one was hoping from a film that brings together the popular TV show 'Laughter Challenge' finalists.
The film isn't a complete washout though. There are giggles and an occasional laugh that one experiences, but then soon after one scene is over and the other begins, there are moments of predictability that come in. The graph of the film continues to move up and down as the screenplay tends to get a little sluggish at alarming interval.
One looks forward to a laughaton with a dozen odd comic actors trying to get your attention as a viewer but one ends up remembering Jagdeep's SOORMA BHOPALI which tried to follow the same formula by filling the screen with a dozen and a half odd actors. Just like this ambitious version which was made around two decades back, even BOMBAY TO GOA has it's hope in keeping the audience's interest alive by filling the frame with numerous characters.
The result is that after an initial recollection of ever-so-popular antics of comic characters like Sunil Pal, Raju Shrivastava, Ehsaan Qureshi and Rauf Lala, one starts looking forward to a plot. Ok, so even the plot is feeble, what with a treasure hunt turning out to be the focus of everyone's attention, but then there should be some sanity in the proceedings that aid in making you consistently amused.
Sadly that doesn't quite happen as it is only the coming in and going out of characters that registers in your mind. And mind you there are many of them. While Vijay Raaz is one of the leads who is there throughout, others like Sanjay Mishra, Shakti Kapoor, Asrani, Tinnu Anand, Asif Sheikh and Mac Mohan make their presence felt.
As mentioned earlier, the film is coming together of number of jokes and comments [what else was one expecting anyways from a film that had Laughter Challenge finalists play principal characters?] Also it cannot be denied that some of them work too. This is an area where Sunil Pal, as expected, excels. It is good to see him do something worthwhile after being reduced to a lamp post in FOOL N FINAL.
Ditto for Raju Shrivastava who has been around not only since Laughter Challenge made him popular but since many years before that. He couldn't get the recognition he truly deserves for number of years but post BOMBAY TO GOA he is bound to be noticed further. Vijay Raaz may have felt a little out of place amidst all the hardcore comedians around him but he makes a good effort to show yet again that he is a versatile actor who can fit into any role comfortably.
Ultimately BOMBAY TO GOA turns out to be a film which is definitely not meant for urban centers but has some good chances in the interiors of the country where such films see a re-release over number of years. Not a must watch, it can be given a DVD viewing though on a lazy evening w